6 Things You Should Be Doing Right Now

By Andrea Loaiza on March 15, 2017
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We are college students. This is the time where we are trying to figure out the rest of our lives. What are we going to do? Do we want to work after we graduate? Where do we want to work? Should we go to grad school right away? Do I want to go to grad school in the distant future?

Most of us have a dream job, and if you don’t, then you are trying to figure it out before graduation.

For my first two years, I didn’t feel much of a change in my transition from high school to university. I’m Panamanian, and I’ve lived my whole life in Panama. For my freshman and sophomore year, I studied at the Panama FSU Campus, where I was finishing my liberal studies.

For those two years, I didn’t feel much responsibility for my future, and by that, I didn’t feel professional at all. Yes, I was meeting more people. I had my first car. I turned 18, so I was now more responsible than before. However, I felt that my only job was to study and to get to know the world, and not in the professional way that I want to do now.

I realized that I was a grownup when I first came to Tallahassee for my junior year. I think that what pushed me to the real world is that I started having classes for my major, English — Editing, Writing, and Media. At the beginning, I felt like a child. I knew I loved what I was studying, but I didn’t know what I was planning to do after I finished. I realized that most of my classmates were working towards their goal. Some of them wanted to go to the digital production area. Others wanted to work in publishing houses. Me? I didn’t know. I just knew that I wanted to wake up with a smile and be motivated to work for the rest of my life.

My first semester in Tallahassee was eye opening. Florida State University made me realize that it was time for me to become a full adult or at least work on it. Being a Nole has given me too many opportunities. I’ve had the honor of listening to people that work in my field. I’ve been able to go to different workshops about self-growth in the professional area, from how to develop a resume to different internship opportunities. My classes have given me an insight of the real world. My professors have become my role models.

Jumping into the real world can be exciting, and terrifying; but if you don’t start now, when?

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Create a LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the best ways of networking, and it is completely free. It’s really popular nowadays. Companies and organizations search through different candidate profiles for a specific job. Your member’s profile page should have your education, your abilities — where your connections can endorse them — your past experiences and more. Being present on LinkedIn is the perfect way to get to know people that are working in your area, geographically or professionally.

Network

Take advantage of the opportunities. Don’t go to class just to get onto Facebook and then leave. Take that opportunity to talk with other people, either your classmates or your professors. If you like the topics of a class, talk to your professor for researching opportunities. If you see that a classmate has the same vision of his future, or has an ability that you believe you will need, either just to learn or to create something else, then talk to them. Create a bond with the people around you. Talk to them about your ideas and opinions. You need to offer a piece of your mind to people who could hire you or help you.

Go to Seminars and Courses

I used to be afraid of going to these courses. I thought that people would just see me as a weirdo for wanting to know more about resumes, or things like that. However, it’s the complete opposite. Workshops, seminars, and courses have been created for us to take advantage of them. There is a workshop for everything, or at least almost everything.

One of the workshops I went was called “Creating Your Workshop,” which emphasized the creation of a personal brand that would represent me. As I’m thinking about developing as a professional writer, this workshop was really useful. For my fellow Nole, I’ll recommend going to the Career Center or at least to the workshops they usually have.

Clean your Social Media and Make It Grow

Three years ago, I would have declared that social media is not a big deal. Now? I’m angry at myself because I could have used these resources to have more professional opportunities. Social media is big, important, and useful. It’s a good way of networking and it’s a free space to develop yourself as a person (how you want people to see you).

Companies now look for you on social media because they want to make sure that the person they want to hire can be professional. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be fun on social media, but you must be careful on how you communicate your opinions and the pictures you include. If a company notices that your social media is full of comments about your tardiness, that the posts you share are disrespectful and violent, and that the only pictures you have are from that day you got so wasted that you couldn’t even remember your name, then there’s nothing you can say in an interview to repair the damage.

Work on Your Resume

When I say work on your resume, I don’t mean just make a resume. I mean work. That’s it. Work on things that you could put on it. The first time I had to make my own resume, I was struggling. I didn’t do much before because I was too concentrated in the fact of knowing things. Find projects, research, internships or/and jobs that you feel would help you to grow as a professional. Don’t settle with the idea that going to class is your only job. That being said, make a resume and work on your elevator speech. Working on these two will help you at the time to get a real job.

Start a Portfolio

If you are an arts major or English major, or any major that really builds on creating something, then start a portfolio. This is a good way to show your abilities. If you are a writer, then have a portfolio full of writing samples — you don’t have to add everything you have ever written, but the best ones. If you are a photographer, then add your best pictures. If you are a graphic designer, then add your best projects.

Be ready to show people your abilities in this easy way. An online portfolio is usually recommended. You can either use Wix.com, Weebly.com, WordPress.com, or more. 

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Born in Panama, but ended up living in the U.S. to attend Florida State University (Go Noles!). Currently pursuing a BA on Editing, Writing and Media with a minor in Communication, and Psychology. Trying to get involved in the different aspects that writing can allow me. Obsessed with stepping out of my comfort zone as much as I can. Bilingual. Bookaholic. Love every kind of art.

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